Pat Powers doesn't even make me sweat. In the midst of his virulent reposting of GOP propaganda (mostly to compensate for his dearth of original analysis), Pat throws up this video from the National Republican Senatorial Committee trying to make everyone think they're choosing between Carter and Reagan, not Obama and Romney:
Even novice high school debaters (blessed be the fresh-faced frosh who nobly answer that call of duty) would race to the podium to ask Pat to read the full paragraphs, not just the tiny context-free slivers that the video highlights.
I was all ready to Google, aim, and fire... but it turns out that fact-checkers have already deflated all four of these weak and sneaky attacks. Robert Farley at FactCheck.orgÂ killed three of those four attacksÂ last November, when Rick Perry and Mitt Romney tried to make it sound like Barack Obama was saying things he wasn't really saying:
- "lazy"â€”President Obama was speaking to CEOs at the APEC summit in Hawaii last November. Responding to a question about improving Chinese investment in the U.S., the President said we as a government and nation had been somewhat lazy in promoting investment opportunities, taking for granted that other nations knew how great it is to invest her. He then laid out how his Administration set up SelectUSA to help state and local governments find foreign investors and make the sale.
- "ambition... imagination"â€”President Obama, campaigning in San FranciscoÂ in October 2011, spoke about how we can't base our economy on endless debt and consumption. He said we have to make stuff: big stuff, durable stuff, high-tech stuff. He prescribed more investment in education and infrastructure, and he likened that prescription to the public investments President Lincoln made to boost America's economy: the Homestead Act, the National Academy of Sciences, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the land-grant colleges.
- "soft"â€”This decontextualization is particularly egregious: the video starts in the middle of this sentence: "The way I think about it is, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didnâ€™t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades." The Republicans can't stomach hearing President Barack Obama say this is a "great, great country." In this September 2011 interview, President Obama went on to say that America's scientists, universities, workers, and economy are still the best in the world. He's just saying we can't let our edge slip just because we think we're the best in the world. As John Kerry said last week, "...we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things."
The "ATM" clip is another absurd 2011 retread trying to make a few out-of-context words branch out into yet another alternative dystopian universe. In a June 14, 2011, interview with Ann Curry on NBC, President Obama made this important and accurate observation about technology increasing productivity but decreasing the need for workers in the modern economy:
...there are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport, and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate. So all these things have created changes in the economy, and what we have to do now -- and that's what this job council is all about -- is identifying where the jobs for the future are going to be; how do we make sure that there's a match between what people are getting trained for and the jobs that exist; how do we make sure that capital is flowing into those places with the greatest opportunity. We are on the right track. The key is figuring out how do we accelerate it [President Barack Obama, interview, NBC News, June 14, 2011, as transcribed on Mediaite.com].
The President's ATM statement is not Carterian malaise; it's simple economic fact that workers have known since before John Henry raced that steam hammer.
The GOP is counting on people to just listen to the scary music and not take time to ask questions or read. They are counting on bloggers like Pat Powers and voters like you to be lazy and soft, to lack the imagination and ambition to check the facts. Don't let Republicans drive you into malaise. Use that information ATM in your hand to learn how the Republicans are insulting you with their slick and misleading editing of the President's words.